Tom Brokaw Visits Tulsa Retirement Home

Wednesday, May 13th 2009, 7:30 pm
By: News On 6

By Nicole Wiseman and Kyle Dierking,

TULSA, OK -- A group of Tulsa senior citizens got a look at their new home and even met a well-known icon Wednesday.

Resident's at Saint Simeon's Episcopal Home are celebrating what will be their new home. Construction totaling more than $22 million is wrapping up at the retirement community for a new assisted living and wellness center.

"Considering that they're living in a part of our facility that is almost 50-years-old, this is brand new, very exciting, new amenities. So, I think (the residents) are excited and I know we are," said Lindsay Hurley Fick, President and CEO of Saint Simeon's Episcopal Home.

Fick says the $22 million was raised through donations. With the new facility, located at 3701 N. Cincinnati Ave., comes 25 new positions. Residents will be able to move in late July.

"I think it's just a real benefit, not only to Saint Simeon's, but also to North Tulsa," Fick said.

Tom Brokaw, former anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, and his wife, Meredith, attended the gathering.

Meredith Brokaw is the niece of James Harvey, who was a member of the Saint Simeon's Board of Trustees, a Trustee Emeritus, a donor, and before his death, a resident of the home.

"What has been so heartening to me at this point, is that wherever I go, I find the nerve endings of Americans are exposed. People are saying, ‘we want to be involved in determining this next phase in our lives.' And in the building of this facility and in your commitment to each other, you're very much a part of that spirit," said Brokaw.

Brokaw coined the phrase, "the greatest generation," referring to the men and woman who grew up during the Great Depression and World War II.

Brokaw spoke before the crowd of residents from "the greatest generation," talking about his life in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Since leaving the anchor desk in 2004, Brokaw says his life is busier than he expected. For the past nine months Brokaw has been traveling across the country for a new documentary he's working on.

"The world kind of took off on me and I have a wonderful arrangement at NBC. I kind of do what I want to, when I want to, and I don't seem to have a pause button. I seem to keep moving forward," Brokaw said. "Now I've worked it out so I can go play for a couple weeks, then come back to work for a month, then go play again. I can't complain. It's all good."

Looking to the future, Brokaw says younger generations will have some big challenges to face, but says today's college-aged students make up the most educated generation we've ever had.

"They have the use of the internet and all this new, wonderful technology that allows you to exchange, research and retrieve it and do commerce with it," Brokaw said.

Brokaw says challenges include environment and social issues.

"What are we going to do about global warming and alternative energy? I mean, Oklahoma was built on oil, but it knows 100 years from now it won't have the same resources that they depend only on oil," Brokaw said. "And then we have to decide about these big social issues, healthcare in America. We've got an aging population, the baby boomers are coming in, they're all expecting Medicare and Social Security. Can we afford that?"

Brokaw says the only way to solve these issues, is by talking about it, in a rational way and coming up with a consensus.

"Not everybody's going to be happy," Brokaw said. "But we need to lower our voices and see if we can't find some common ground."

Despite these issues, Brokaw believes things are looking up and that America is moving in a positive direction.

"We're learning once again about the importance of returning to what I call the fundamental values of the American dream and the American ideal," Brokaw said. "How to live within our means, how to determine real value and how to take care of each other and do that in a way that we can, as we always have in this country, move forward together."

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